Mary Beth Kery


2602A Newell Simon Hall

Human Computer Interaction Institute

Carnegie Mellon


Google Scholar


I am a 2nd year PhD student at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. I am a part of the Natural Programming Lab, and advised by Professor Brad Myers.


My research interests are in supporting programmer creativity, particularly in exploratory tasks. My current work is in studying exploratory programming practices, and studying individuals who perform exploratory tasks with data, such as developing machine learning models or exploratory data analysis. I aim to design tools to better support exploratory programming, particularly for end-user programmers.


Prior to beginning my PhD, I received a B.A. in Computer Science from Wellesley College in 2015. As an undergraduate I did computer science research at UC Berkeley and NC State universities as well as at Wellesley College.


I am also a practicing painter. I studied illustration and painting at Wellesley College, and briefly, at the Slade School of Art in London. I draw whenever possible for design work in HCI and work on art in those moments whilst not researching.


Current Projects

Enabling exploring data with programming

Exploration is an indispensable part of working with complex data sets, yet writing exploratory code in data science tasks can be highly iterative, messy and prone to mistakes. In this project I am studying how people program when working on data science tasks, and am working to design new tools to make this process more accessible to non-experts.


Improving the quality of error-handling code

Error-handling code is responsible for ensuring a software system responds well in failure cases, such as an inaccessible server or missing file. While critical for robust and secure software, error-handling code is often minimal (or even missing!) and contains faults, even in large open-source projects. In this project, we are studying the error-handlers developers write and studying developers rationale and habits for working with error-handling code, to better support programmers with this task.




[pdf]        Mary Beth Kery, Amber Horvath and Brad A. Myers.  “Variolite: Supporting Exploratory Programming by Data Scientists,” Proceedings CHI'2017: Human Factors in Computing Systems, Denver, CO,  May 6-11, 2017. To appear.


[pdf]        Mary Beth Kery, Claire Le Goues, and Brad A. Myers. "Examining programmer practices for locally handling exceptions." In Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Mining Software Repositories, pp. 484-487. ACM, 2016.


[pdf]        Mary Beth Kery, Monica Feldman, Jonathan Livny, and Brian Tjaden. "TargetRNA2: identifying targets of small regulatory RNAs in bacteria." Nucleic acids research (2014): gku317


Past  Projects (Undergraduate work)

TabletCNC: a mixed-reality interface and positioning for a portable CNC router, UC Berkeley, Summer 2014


TabletCNC is a working augmentation of a Handibot portable CNC router where we have mounted a tablet over the router to provide a lightweight mixed-reality system. The mixed-reality interface allows for designing directly onto the work surface and also aids the user in tiling the Handibot to cut areas larger than the machine's cutbed. I was responsible for designing and developing the interface and computer-vision software for this project. This project is now ongoing in Professor Bjoern Hartmann's lab.

Snowbot Wellesley College, Fall 2014


Snowbot is an interactive scene were I created the models, texture, and lighting for a Computer Graphics course.

Frosty: Intuitive Narrative Generation with Mixed-Initiative Planning, NC State, Summer 2013


A user interface designed for mixed-initiative planning between a human and AI to tell the story of a crime scene in 3D virtual space. This project was in conjunction with the IC Crime project at NCSU. I worked with the Liquid Narrative Research Group at NSCU, as part of a REU program summer of 2013. I begun development on the interface with my research partner Christian Stith and was active in design decisions.

Ada & Charles and the Analytical Monstrosity! Wellesley College, Spring 2012


A  game I designed and implemented for a course project. The game has simple word puzzles and follows the adventures of child versions of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage and their Analytical Monstrosity, which both computes and eats people!

Mary Beth Kery, Dec 2016, all rights reserved